My STEP signature project entailed interning in the wealth and asset management division of Fifth Third Bank at their headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. I performed Trust Associate duties while supporting two Senior Trust Officers in administering combined books of business of over $2 billion in market value. I also led and completed an account repapering project by identifying qualifying accounts and preparing over 750 investment management and custodian agreements to meet compliance standards amongst other tasks.
This past summer due to my STEP project I grew a tremendous amount both personally and professionally. It was the first time I had ever lived by myself with no family or roommates. I also lived in a city where I did not know anyone. Due to this I had a large amount of time to think introspectively about my life. I was able to address where I felt I was successful in my life and areas where I wanted to improve. I focused a large amount of my time on learning for pleasure and finding a hobby I am passionate about. Previously, I had been so busy with schoolwork and maintaining relationships that I never truly focused on bettering myself. I read a lot and watched documentaries on things that really interested me. I also discovered I am passionate about working out and have since been dedicating at least an hour a day to working out in some fashion. I will continue to find time for myself even though I am back at school and surrounded by friends.
This past summer I was able to develop my professional brand. I gathered a large amount of information about the wealth management field as well as the markets. I learned how to use various databases and improved my excel skills. Additionally I worked closely with senior management so I learned how to communicate and present myself in a respectable manner. Networking was really valued and emphasized at Fifth Third so I spent a large amount of my time working on that skill. I was able to build a network of people that I can reach out to for career advice and guidance. I also went into the summer a little introverted and unsure of my abilities but finished the summer confident in my skills and comfortable with talking to professionals.
There were a couple events this past summer that led to my personal and professional transformation. I was transformed personally because I had so much time to myself and was forced to really take a look at my life. Until this previous summer I have either lived with my family or roommates. I had never really experienced being alone. It is easy to avoid problems or being introspective when you are surrounded by others because you can distract yourself. I had no distractions this past summer; my only social interactions were at work. At first I really did not like being alone but eventually I became more accustomed to it and even got to a point where I did look introspectively at my life. If I lived with my family or with roommates I do not believe I would have spent time on learning for pleasure or discovering I have a passion for working out.
When it comes to my professional growth, I was given a project that would last the entirety of my internship. My superiors gave me no guidelines only that they wanted a specific outcome. They left the process of reaching the desired outcome up to me. I went through some trial and error within the first week or so because I had to learn how to use the databases and gain some knowledge on terms I was unfamiliar with. After that short period, I created an efficient method that worked well for me and I eventually surpassed my superiors’ desired outcome. They were very pleased with all my work. This project really helped me be confident in my abilities because the entire success of the project fell on my shoulders. No one was over my shoulder making sure I stayed on track. I had to had to ensure I stayed motivated and completed the project. Thanks to the freedom, I feel confident to tackle future projects in a professional setting.
Another event that shaped me professionally over this past summer was the emphasis Fifth Third placed on networking. I had heard the term networking in school but had never applied it until this summer. I can talk to people my own age fairly easily but I was unsure how to talk to professionals. Throughout the summer I learned how to network and ask applicable questions. I additionally learned how to tailor who I was reaching out to so I could learn more about areas I was interested in. Through meeting with different individuals and learning about their roles, I realized that a role that is analytical than client facing would suit my personality better. Due to all the networking, I now feel comfortable in communicating with any individual regardless if I previously know them or if they are my age.
The personal and profession change I experienced this summer was significant and valuable to my life in a couple ways. I have always been a really work orientated person and have always had a lot on my plate because I can manage my time well. This summer showed me I can be successful in a corporate environment. I want a long and successful career and my internship assured me I am moving in the right direction in terms of a career to pursue. It was also really validating receiving feedback from my job that I provided value to the company. While all this is great, I believe what I learned about myself personally is much more important. I had always gone through life moving from one task or obligation to the next, never really taking time for myself. This summer taught me that it is important to create time for the activities you enjoy. Life is a lot more than a list of things to accomplish, it is about learning to balance the things you have to do and the things you want to do. I allocate much more time now to things I want to do.